Press release

New car registrations | December 2020

Commentary on the 2020 new car transaction data from the SMMT

Ian Plummer, Auto Trader’s Commercial Director, says: “The automotive industry had a lot thrown at last year, with Covid restrictions closing showrooms, trading tariffs in question as Brexit loomed, and with the government changing the goalposts again on the sale of new ICE vehicles, it’s not surprising that new car sales have taken a hit.

“There have however been some bright spots as we’ve seen a healthy rise in the number of EVs on our roads. With consumer interest in greener technologies increasing, coupled with a plethora of new models now available, the green transition has certainly begun. If we were to see this continued level of uptake in EVs then we anticipate that sales of new EVs and plug in hybrids will overtake diesel cars in 2021, and then pure EVs will overtake those of their internal combustion engine counterparts in 2026.

“The industry, with everything that it has had to deal with in the year, has also responded and adapted remarkably quickly. We’ve seen retailers and manufacturers begin to shift their selling methods, with many launching new online elements of the car buying journey, enabling them to operate within the confines of click and collect and home delivery. Being able to buy a car fully online or at least do more elements of the journey online was always coming, but the pandemic and the restrictions that its brought have only accelerated both the technology required to fulfil these services and consumer adoption of these services. This is a trend that’s set to continue into this year.

“As we look ahead to 2021, notwithstanding negative dents to sales from the current and any further national lockdowns, data suggests that sales will bounce back to c.2 million levels. Although not as high as we saw in 2019, we certainly aren’t expecting levels to dip down to what we saw during the global financial crisis. Consumer confidence levels, historically the key driver of the new car market, remain relatively strong as does the availability of good credit options, which bode well for the new car market.”

We're excited to announce that, as of 1st July, we'll be powering the used car pages on @whatcar and its sister site, @autocar. https://t.co/H4GJLafkh7
We're excited to announce that, as of 1st July, we'll be powering the used car pages on @whatcar and its sister site, @autocar. https://t.co/H4GJLafkh7
What are the three big barriers to electric vehicle adoption and how can we as an industry help to overcome them? Find out in the latest edition of The Road to 2030 report 👉https://t.co/ho4cNqeUsQ https://t.co/qlA2IX6EiF
Are you getting the basics right? Find out in this week's tip of the week where @AndrewKorpela highlights the need to maintain your digital best practises. https://t.co/Rkm0nKu19B
One of the most recent entrants to the EV market, the @CUPRA Born, is currently seeing the most advert views of any new EV on our marketplace. With a new EV model set to enter the market every 10 days this year, what model do you think we'll see make the list? https://t.co/nOcF7YguLg
We've been working with manufacturers to get you access to the specification profile for each car and we're excited to announce that this is now available to retailers, helping you to make creating high-quality adverts easier than ever. Find out more 👇 https://t.co/lv2kLf4E77
After a slight technical glitch @therickw is live and sharing our latest market data. Demand has seen a decline but used car prices remain robust. https://t.co/lSNLB6rLrg
Over now to @MarcThornboroug who asks "is it time to reset your goals"? Last year's performance was incredibly strong across the market, being very much a seller's market. But in recent weeks we have seen it start to shift towards a buyers market. https://t.co/BVEiBdl9Dy
We're kicking off today's webinar with @marc_palmer. Right now the economy is the top issue for many people with the cost of living crisis in full swing and the spectre of a recession looming. But what does this mean for car sales? Read the thread to find out 👇 https://t.co/ZMErCURxJU

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